The New York Knicks recently signed forward Jonathan Bender, who had fallen out of the NBA due to injury problems and was not expected to be heard from again.

But in Bender’s first game as a Knick he looked like a perfectly solid backup, playing 14 minutes and finishing with nine points, two rebounds and an assist.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports:

On his first possession, with the Clippers on a 16-0 run, Bender snaked in from the perimeter on a drive and made a nifty layup over Marcus Camby.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” said Walsh who, while with the Pacers, made a trade for Bender soon after he was drafted with the fifth overall pick by the Raptors out of high school as an 18-year-old. “After that I said, ‘OK, that’s what I remember.’ “On his next touch, Bender drilled a left-corner 3-pointer. He also made an emphatic block of a Baron Davis’ floater — the cleanest block by a Knick this season. And he committed a flagrant foul on Eric Gordon, battering him to the floor as Gordon drove for a layup. The tough display was a rarity for a Knicks big man.

Bender said that would not have been a flagrant foul four years ago.

“Definitely not,” Bender said. “When Gordon goes to the rack, he bumps into you. I just put my arm out.”

One game doesn’t mean much, but Bender does look like an NBA player again, and that’s a success story all by itself.